Danish ‘halal’ ban stuns Muslims

Updated 16 March 2014
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Danish ‘halal’ ban stuns Muslims

Muslims all over the world have opposed Denmark’s move to ban the slaughter of animals in an Islamic (halal) way and called upon their governments to stop importing Danish meat as long as the Scandinavian country refuses to respect their religious teachings.
Fouad Tawfik, an Islamic scholar, said the halal way of slaughtering animals has been scientifically proved to be better for animals as well as humans than killing them by electric shock. “Muslim countries must stop importing meat from Denmark as long as it prohibits Islamic way of slaughtering animals,” he told Arab News.
Dr. Zakir Naik, a respected propagator of Islam, emphasized that Islamic way is hygienic as it allows animal blood to be drained completely. “Blood is a good medium for germs, bacteria and toxins that cause various diseases,” he pointed out. Meat slaughtered by Islamic way remains fresh and longer due to lack of blood, he said.
Denmark, meanwhile, tried to cool down the anger caused by its decision. Dan Jorgensen, minister for food, agriculture and fisheries, said in a statement on Sunday that “such (halal) slaughter is still legal in Denmark.”
The Danish Embassy in Riyadh defended Copenhagen’s position. “There is no ban on Islamic slaughter in Denmark, and animal sacrifice according to Islamic principles is still legal in Denmark,” it said.
“Unfortunately, the Danish government executive order has been portrayed and misinterpreted by the media, as if it was directed against the halal form of slaughter,” said Fikre El-Gourfti, deputy chief of the Danish mission. He claimed that the current procedure of stunning an animal before slaughtering it “is in accordance with the resolution of the Islamic Fiqh Council of the Makkah-based Muslim World League (MWL).”
But Tawfik refuted the embassy’s statement, saying stunning of animals is not Islamic and MWL would not approve of such a religious edict. He advised Muslims to move to eat chicken and fish until they get halal meat. “It’s the right of Danish Muslims to get halal food,” he said.
The Danish diplomat noted that beef and poultry products are imported in large quantities by Saudi Arabia, while a growing number of Saudi and Muslim tourists, as well as businessmen, visit his country every year.
Zaid Khan, a blogger, urged Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries to import halal meat from Muslim countries such as Pakistan, Turkey and Malaysia. “The Danish decision should make us think in a proactive manner.”
Another blogger pointed to the fact that US investors are now thinking of how to make a big business out of halal meat while the Danish government is antagonizing Muslim consumers.
Referring to the statements issued by Jorgensen, El-Gourfti said: “It is important for the Danish government that Muslims can buy halal meat in Denmark.”
He further explained that Jorgensen has been misquoted in many media reports as saying that animal welfare is above religion. “This is not correct,” said the Danish diplomat. El-Gourfti pointed out that the ministerial remarks were clarified by Jorgensen himself personally at a meeting on Friday with Islamic and Jewish organizations in Denmark.
This is not the first controversy of its kind created by Copenhagen. In September 2005, Jyllands-Posten, a Danish newspaper, printed 12 caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), which sparked international controversy at the time.
On another occasion last year, a huge controversy was created over a nudity show in Denmark. Islam is the largest minority religion in Denmark. According to the US Department of State, approximately 3.7 percent of the population in Denmark is Muslim.


Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

The end of the driving ban is expected to help bring an economic windfall for Saudi women. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

  • The historic move is a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Saudi Arabia, says businesswoman
  • A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market

The end of the driving ban will boost women’s financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030, prominent businesswomen said on Friday.

Hind Khalid Al-Zahid was the first Saudi woman designated as an executive director — for Dammam Airport Company — and also heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

She sees the historic move as a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Kingdom.

“Women being allowed to drive is very important; of course this will help a lot in sustainable development as the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a wonderful opportunity to increase women’s participation in the workforce,” she told Arab News on Friday, ahead of the end of the ban on Sunday.

She added that women in the job market are under-represented; they make up to 22 percent of the national workforce of about six million according to official estimates. Lifting the ban will help to take women’s representation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, she said.

“This is not just the right thing to do for women’s emancipation, but also an essential step in economic and social development as part of the reforms,” she said.

She said that there were different obstacles in increasing women’s participation in the workforce and other productive activities, and the driving ban was one of them. It was a strategic issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis. With the issue resolved, it would help immensely in giving Saudi women better representation as they would help to diversify the Saudi economy and society.

She said that women could contribute hugely to the workforce and labor market as half of Saudi human resources were female, and unless allowed to excel in different sectors it would not be possible to do better, mainly because of restricted mobility.

A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market.

Nouf Ibrahim, a businesswoman in Riyadh, said: “It will surely boost female economic participation and help increase women’s representation in the workforce immensely. It will also help to reduce the overall national unemployment rate as most of the unemployed are women and many of them are eligible as university graduates.”

She echoed the opinion that the move would help to bring an economic windfall for Saudi women, making it easier for them to work and do business, and thus play a bigger and better role that would help economic and social diversification in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Being able to drive from Sunday onwards after the ban is lifted will be a wonderful experience. Earlier we were dependent on a male family member and house driver to take us to workplace, to the shopping center, school or other required places for some work, now we can drive and that will allow active participation in productive work,” Sulafa Hakami, a Saudi woman working as the digital communication manager with an American MNC in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the bigger and better responsibilities,” she said.